A nickname for surgery that is meant to be performed rapidly to stabilize the patient as quickly as possible.
Amid technical innovations and changes of personnel, one thing that did not change was the MASH's basic function of performing what Capt. H. Richard Hornberger of the 8055th later called "meatball surgery." Speaking as Richard Hooker, pseudonymous author of M*A*S*H, he suggested that meatball surgery is a specialty in itself. "We are not concerned with the ultimate reconstruction of the patient. We are concerned only with getting the kid out of here alive enough for someone else to reconstruct him. Up to a point we are concerned with fingers, hands, arms and legs, but sometimes we deliberately sacrifice a leg in order to save a life, if the other wounds are more important. In fact, now and then we may lose a leg because, if we spent an extra hour trying to save it, another guy in the pre-op ward could die from being operated on too late. Our general attitude around here is that we want to play par surgery. Par is a live patient."